Anthony Patrick Sanders, 27, of Nashville, is in federal custody as a result of an investigation by the MNPD’s Youth Services Division, with assistance from the ATF, into last week’s shooting death of 7-year-old Harmony Warfield. Sanders is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms, announced Jack Smith, Acting United States Attorney for Middle Tennessee.
According to the criminal complaint issued Wednesday, on June 6, 2017, Harmony Warfied was shot in the head by a 2-year-old boy who picked up a handgun and fired it while in an apartment in the J.C. Napier public housing development. Harmony Warfield died as a result.
“Another innocent child has died because the defendant, a convicted felon who is prohibited from possessing a firearm, chose to ignore the law and arm himself with handguns,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith. “It is apparent from this investigation that multiple people knew that the defendant regularly carried firearms and some had even told him not to bring guns into the area where so many children are located. We implore our citizens to do the right thing and notify law enforcement when they become aware of someone who is illegally carrying a firearm. We can and will continue to bring federal charges against individuals who illegally possess firearms after having been convicted of a felony, but, as is the case here, these charges are usually brought after violent acts have occurred. We desperately need the help of our law abiding citizens if we are going to be successful in reducing the number of violent incidents involving firearms.”
As alleged in the complaint, the subsequent investigation determined that Anthony Sanders had stayed at the home the night before, slept on the couch, and was known to generally carry one or two firearms whenever he was in the J.C. Napier housing area. Sanders sometimes kept the firearms in the residence where Harmony Warfield was shot. According to witness statements and video evidence, Sanders woke up and went outside. Shortly thereafter, the gun was discharged by the 2-year-old, striking Harmony in the head. Sanders re-entered the residence and saw Harmony lying on the kitchen floor. He then retrieved the firearm and fled the area, saying he could not go back to prison.
Also, according to the complaint, three other juveniles were inside the residence when the incident occurred.
“The protection of children is among the highest responsibilities of us all,” said Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson. “There was a blatant failure of that responsibility in the death of Harmony Warfield. Our Youth Services detectives quickly recognized that and were in communication with the United States Attorney’s Office and the ATF early in their investigation. Individuals who unlawfully arm themselves pose a real danger to persons of all ages in our community. I am grateful to our federal partners for actively sharing this police department’s commitment to the safety of all Nashville’s neighborhoods.”
“ATF, along with its partners, are working diligently to protect the public from these senseless acts of violence,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Steve Gerido. “ATF will remain vigilant as we engage with the community and foster an environment where our children are safe. In this case justice will be swift and fair. Support from the public is crucial as the reporting of illegal activity is encouraged through ATF’s ‘report it’ phone app.”
Sanders had previously been convicted in 2008 of kidnapping and was sentenced to eight years in prison. He was released from prison in June 2016.
Sanders was arrested by federal agents Wednesday afternoon and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate this morning. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sunny A.M. Koshy.
This charge is merely an accusation. Sanders is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.